It’s said that for students hungry for the dharma that will transform their minds and lives, there is no one who shows more kindness than the teacher.
And for all of us in the United States who follow His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa, there is one special teacher who has shown us immeasurable kindness: Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
Born in Tibet in the 1920s and educated at Thrangu Monastery to be both a meditation master and a scholar, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has been an excellent teacher for dharma students in America.
Almost 40 years ago, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa chose Khenpo Rinpoche to guide us, and in so doing firmly planted the Karma Kagyu dharma in a new land.
This week at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, we celebrate three milestones: the 25th Anniversary of the Ten-Day Teaching program; KTD’s 35th Year on Mount Guardian; and the 90th Birthday of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. It is a family “homecoming” for all of His Holiness’ students in America, and a special opportunity to say thank-you to Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche for all he has given – and continues to give – to all of us sentient beings.
Ten-Day Teaching: 25 Years and Counting
In 1989, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche began the trandition of the Ten-Day Teaching, which became a vehicle of students to expand their dharma practice and study by spending 10 days together in the Catskill Mountains at His Holiness’ monastery.
Students still gather every morning in the Main Shrine Room to perform their prostrations, offerings, mantras, and meditation; the air is full of devotion and practice. Khenpo Rinpoche, in recent years accompanied by the gifted Candadian translator Lama Yeshe Gyamtso, expounds the dharma at all levels. Year One, Khenpo Rinpoche taught the Third Karamapa’s “Profound Inner Meaning:” This year, he teaches Jamgon Kongtrul’s “Torch of Certainty.”
The Ten-Day Teaching is a rare opportunity to spend time with a master, and to be in the company of dharma brothers and sisters.
35 Years on Mount Guardian
In May, 1978, KTD opened its doors for dharma students in the old Meads Mountain House near the crest of the southeastern slope of Mount Guardian. This mountain, flanking the nearby peak of Mount Overlook, has been KTD’s home ever since.
Early teachings and seminars were conducted in a shrine room fashioned from the former dining room of the resort hotel; His Holiness the 16th Karmapa visited in 1980 and performed a Vajra Crown ceremony in a tent on the southeastern lawn. From 1982 to the early 1990s work was done to build a temple just west of the Meads Mountain House; it has served since then as KTD’s spiritual hub.
In 2010, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche called KTD “the Bodhgaya of America,” saying, that as the spiritual dwelling place of His Holiness Karmapa and the seat of his blessings, it was a place of sacred pilgrimage for people in the west.
Just this year, a group of pilgrims from Latin America came to KTD for the first time, making this dream of KTD being a pilgrimage site come true.
90th Birthday of the Master Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche
In 1975, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa signed the documents creating Karma Triyana Dharmachakra as the center of his activities in the United States. The next year, 1976, His Holiness sent Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche to America to be his representative and create his center of activities.
Rinpoche was a little over 50 years old then; this year, he turns 90, and we are gathering to celebrate his work on behalf of His Holiness in the United States.
More than 150 people are expected to attend his birthday celebration, which will begin at the end of this year’s Ten-Day Teaching. In fact, the Ten-Day is being cut short by three days to accommodate an elaborate White Tara practice for the health and long-life of His Holiness Karmapa, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and all the gurus.
The White Tara pujas will be on Aug. 30, 31, and culminate on Sept. 1. During that time, people from around the world are expected to assemble at KTD to participate.
Offerings will be made by students from every corner of the globe, all celebrating Khenpo Rinpoche’s contributions to dharma – East, and West.